May 2, 2008

Advice to 3020a Participants

The Bloomberg-Klein Administration is using the 3020a hearing as a way of removing teachers from their schools. Perhaps teachers will be returned to schools as ATRs after settlements or hearings. This also is part of the strategy because exits are being planned for the ATRs. An easy way to remove a teacher from his/her school is to charge incompetence. TAGNYC, along with every teacher, knows this. Randi Weingarten knows this. TAGNYC will speak out to expose this horrendous practice. The UFT will not.
OSI agents are complaining that principals are using OSI to remove teachers. If you fall in this category, demand charges immediately, demand to see incident reports, witness statements, and demand a hearing- and then demand an apology.

Advice to 3020a Participants:
1. Do not be in a hurry to retire or resign. Have your hearing.
2. Do not be in a hurry to settle. Have your hearing.
3. Demand a defense built on “disparate treatment”.*
4. Demand a public hearing. Do not be persuaded to have a private hearing.
5. Exercise your right to subpoena witnesses.
6. Demand a ‘bill of particulars’.**
7. Script your own defense-know what questions you want asked of both your witnesses and the DOE witnesses.
8. Bring every bit of documentation possible to your defense- lesson plans, students’ work, etc. Submit everything as evidence.
9. Demand that the arbitrator apply the criteria of “credibility” to your case.***
10. Demand a definition of incompetence:
a. 3020a law and Klein define incompetence as being unable or unwilling to do your job
11. Demand a definition of “your job” from the DOE and from the arbitrator.
12. Demand a definition of ‘unable and “unwilling”.
13. Demand credible evidence of being “unable and unwilling”.
14. Demand that incompetence be proven.
15. Get in writing the rational for any fine that is levied or offered as a settlement.
16. Remember- defend on disparate treatment, disparate treatment, disparate treatment.
Although historically the term is used to denote unequal treatment based on race, religion, gender, etc., 3020a participants can use it to defend against their unequal treatment-: Did the principal hold the 3020a person to a standard (employment practices) to which other teachers were not held and which standard resulted in awarding u-ratings in an ‘unequal’ fashion? Yes, the UFT should have been monitoring if one of their members was receiving unequal treatment. That is what a labor union does. It is not a question of going after its own members. It is the principle that all members be treated equally.
**bill of particulars- A written statement that is submitted by a plaintiff at the request of a defendant, giving the defendant detailed information concerning the claims or charges made against him or her.
***credibility- Who do you believe? On what basis does the arbitrator believe the DOE’s assertion of incompetence over the documented career of the accused teacher?

DO NOT EXPECT the DOE to provide anything you request. The DOE refuses to respond to lawyers’ requests for information in the 3020a hearings. Ask for the information anyway. Build a case.
DO EXPECT AND DEMAND that arbitrators’ judgments and rulings reflect adherence to their Code of Professional Ethics.